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Are we supposed to be actively looking for a spouse?

Question: "Are we supposed to be actively looking for a spouse, or waiting for God to bring a spouse to us?"

The answer to both questions is “yes.” As Christians, once we have decided that “it’s time” to start looking for a spouse, we should begin the process with prayer. Committing ourselves to God’s will for our lives is the first step. So many Scriptures tell us that this is the most important thing. “Delight yourself in the LORD and he will give you the desires of your heart” (Psalm 37:4). Delighting in the Lord means we find pleasure in knowing Him and doing His will and trust that He will delight us in return when we obey Him. He will put His desires into our hearts, and in this situation, that means desiring for ourselves the type of spouse He desires for us and who He knows will delight us further. Proverbs 3:6 tells us, “In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight.” Acknowledging Him in the search for a spouse means submitting to His sovereign will and telling Him that whatever He decides is best is what we want.

After committing ourselves to God’s will, we need to be clear on the characteristics of a godly husband or wife and be seeking someone who qualifies on a spiritual level. (See the articles What should I be looking for in a wife? and What should I be looking for in a husband? on this site for discussions of this topic.) It’s important to have a clear understanding of these qualities first and then to seek someone who fits them. To “fall in love” with someone and then discover he/she is not spiritually qualified to be our mate is to invite heartache and put ourselves in a very difficult position.

At this point, we can begin actively looking for a spouse, all the while understanding that God will bring him/her into our lives as we are in the process of looking, according to His perfect will and timing. If we pray, God will lead us to the person He has for us. If we wait for His timing, we will be given the person who fits best with our background, personality, and desires. We have to trust in Him and His timing (Proverbs 3:5), even when His timing is not our timing. Sometimes God calls people not to marry at all (Matthew 19:12), but in those situations, He makes it clear by removing the desire for marriage from them. God's timing is perfect, and with faith and patience, we will receive His promises (Hebrews 6:12).

Recommended Resources: The Ten Commandments of Dating by Young & Adams.

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Related Topics:

How young is too young to be in a romantic relationship?

What should I be looking for in a husband?

What does the Bible say about dating / courting?

What should I be looking for in a wife?

What is an appropriate level of intimacy before marriage?

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Are we supposed to be actively looking for a spouse?